Travel news: the best destinations

From dining in the Tunisian desert to loft living in Hong Kong. By Maria Shollenbarger

The pool at the redesigned Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
The pool at the redesigned Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Three unbeatable openings in Bangkok

Bangkok – always a great hotel town – has upped its game again; and the action is all right on the Chao Phraya River (where it so happens some of the city’s best new dining, shopping and nightlife has materialised of late too). The much-anticipated (and delayed) Capella Bangkok – with its prime waterfront villas and ambitious restaurant (welcome to southeast Asia, Mauro Colgreco!) – is cutting the ribbon later this month. From £390; capellahotels.com.

The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s lobby
The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s lobby
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Very close by, the 299 rooms and suites of the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River rise up alongside a new-build, 300m-tall, unmissable tower that holds a clutch of residences. All is clean monochrome sleekness inside, thanks to the ministrations of Jean-Michel Gathy. Outside, gorgeous vertical gardens and landscaping extend from the riverfront to Charoen Krung Road. From £250; fourseasons.com.

One of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s deluxe premier rooms
One of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s deluxe premier rooms
A cinemascope view of the city from the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
A cinemascope view of the city from the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

But best of all: the unimpeachable Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is fully open again, after a complete redesign. From the white-wainscoted walls in the suites and cinemascope new views to the legendary surf-and-turf temple Lord Jim’s and the sleek teak decking and chic rattan all along the Verandah, it’s pretty much perfection. From about £420; mandarinoriental.com. 

Dining in the desert at Anantara Tozeur, on the edge of the Tunisian Sahara
Dining in the desert at Anantara Tozeur, on the edge of the Tunisian Sahara
One of Anantara Tozeur’s pool villas
One of Anantara Tozeur’s pool villas

Escape to the edge of the Tunisian Sahara

Chott el Djerid, the great salt lake of the Tunisian Sahara, is thought by many to correspond to mythological Tritonis, home to naiads and gods. It’s a place with an end-of-the-earth feeling – but it is within easy striking distance of Tozeur, whose airport connects daily to London, Paris and Geneva. As of last month, Anantara Tozeur offers a new way to immerse in its uniqueness. The design is a combo of pared-back and grown-up, with all the mod cons. The villas, with their pool terraces facing on to manifest emptiness, are the ones to book; exploring 14th-century Berber villages and Tozeur’s medina, as well as dining in the desert (pictured), are the things to do. From about £420; anantara.com.

Show me the Mani – by bike

If slow is the setting for travel in 2020 and beyond, then this might be its ultimate manifestation. The people at The Slow Cyclist are clearly on to something – the relatively new outfit has enjoyed explosive popularity with its offerings. In May, it’ll launch a very anticipated trip, through the Mani Peninsula in Greece, whose sere landscapes and atmospheric villages made it a favourite of Patrick Leigh Fermor. Riders will stay three of the trip’s six nights at the charming Citta dei Nicliani, in remote Koita; the other three will see them hosted by the historical fiction writer James Heneage and his wife Charlotte, at their hilltop home, Ilias. From £2,500pp based on a private group of 12; theslowcyclist.co.uk.

The Slow Cyclist is offering a trip through the Mani Peninsula, in Greece
The Slow Cyclist is offering a trip through the Mani Peninsula, in Greece
The library space at K11 Artus, in Hong Kong
The library space at K11 Artus, in Hong Kong

High-rise, high art in Hong Kong

The Victoria Dockside is Hong Kong’s new ground zero for art and design; this is its sell, and with the dynamic sibling duo of Sonia and Adrian Cheng behind it, you’d be safe to bet on its success. Sonia opened the Rosewood Hong Kong to enormous fanfare last March; in August, Adrian debuted the extraordinary K11 Musea culture and shopping destination. Now comes K11 Artus, Adrian’s private residential “experience” – loft-like suites that can be rented for as short a period as a few days. Cheng’s personal investment in preserving artisan traditions takes full shape here (ie, museum-quality Ming and Qing decorative arts, which guests can buy). The Central skyline can be admired from wraparound balconies. From about HK$3,960 (about £390); artus.com.hk.

A three-bedroom residence at Hong Kong’s K11 Artus, with views over Victoria Harbour
A three-bedroom residence at Hong Kong’s K11 Artus, with views over Victoria Harbour
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